Sunday, January 21, 2007

Back at it

The new semester is two weeks old and I am starting to get settled in. This semester I enjoy a wonderful luxury: for the first time at Pleasant Grove High School I am teaching the same classes I taught in the first semester. In the past three semesters I have been creating new activities for each new class and it has been quite the time killer. Now, it is a matter of just modifying what I already have. I can look back at the plans from last semester and say to myself either that went great so I will do it again or I need to work on that a little more before doing that lesson again. It is not like I don't work, but it is not as stressful.
I had morning duty the first week back and that was not fun! Despite the benefit of teaching the same classes it was difficult to get back in the swing of things when I did not have my time in the morning to get ready. The morning duty meant I had to stay later after school because I lost that time in the morning. Luckily, it was only a week.
My new classes have been pretty good so far. There are a few kids who are starting to talk in class a little more than I would like. However, that is something a new seating chart can fix. If they still talk then it is time to start calling home. I am glad the kids are so well behaved at the beginning of the semester because in all honesty, the stuff we cover in world history at the very beginning is not exactly the most interesting stuff in the world.
A number of wedding issues are being resolved. I wish I could take credit for it, but it is really all Sarah. For further details on wedding plans, just take a look at Sarah's blog. There is a link for it off to the side.
This weekend has been pretty eventful. Sarah is on a basketball road trip so I have been on my own. I have found ways to keep myself out of trouble. After school on Friday I went to the girls basketball game for 3rd place in the county championship. We won by about 5 points, we were up by about 4-8 points the whole game. Sure would have been nice if we could have pulled away, but what are you going to do?
Saturday I had to use my alarm because my car had to go to the shop. I had to wait for about 4 hours, but it was an excellent opportunity to get some grading done. When I finished I strolled through the Honda dealership and looked at cars I do not need and can't afford. Everything works out though since while my car is not much to look at, it still runs pretty well with the occasional repair that has to get done just because parts go out every few years. A couple of folks and I met up for dinner on Saturday for Ford's 29th birthday. Then we went to the boys basketball game for the county championship. At one point Pleasant Grove was down 17 points in the 3rd quarter and came back to win it in overtime.
Today I have some more school work to do, but I am putting that off as much as possible. Maybe I will do some work around here instead.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Back home!

Sarah and I got back home on Thursday. Overall, it was a pretty eventful two weeks. We have a number of wedding items squared away. We got to see both of our families and came across an interesting fact on the way home to Birmingham from North Carolina. On every trip to North Carolina it seems like we come across a million Waffle House restaurants. It turns out that number is a little off. The actual number is more like 60. The trip, one-way, is about 600 miles. This averages out to about one Waffle House every 10 miles. However, there are actually some exits with two Waffle Houses, both within eye sight of the interstate! I guess the business plan of Waffle House assumes that people will not cross under the interstate for a meal.
Once we got home Sarah and I both had to work on Friday. Actually, Sarah was supposed to travel with the women's basketball team. The only problem was the bus did not have enough space for everyone and Sarah was a real team player and volunteered to stay home. So we spent the weekend cleaning up the apartment. We cleaned up quite a bit even if it may not look like it. We also went to a wedding reception for one of the teachers from work. The husband is from Morocco and it was a real trip to be a part of a reception with a number of Arabic features.
The first day of the 2nd semester is tomorrow. After having the last two weeks off it sure is difficult to go back to work. Perhaps going back to school will get me back in the swing of things.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Wedding Plans

No, I am not planning to blog every other day. It just so happens that two days after my previous entry that I had more information to post. Yesterday, Sarah and I went into Durham to handle some wedding business. Sarah's mom also went with us. Our 6 hours in the area were more than productive.
We had an 11:30 appointment with a bakery, Ambrosia Cake Creations, at a coffee shop. She had her own bakery, but we met her at a random coffee shop because she was there for another business she runs. As weird as that sounds she was a pretty cool lady. She had a number of binders with cake ideas and she even provided us with samples. This lady was all over it with her paperwork and everything. The hardest thing was that eventhough she had 5 binders for us to look through, there was not one picture that was everything we wanted. We had to bookmark a whole bunch of pages and then piece our cake together. It was hard to describe what we wanted because it seemed like we were saying things like, "we want this in a different color" or "we want this in that shape." By no means was it the baker's fault, it was just difficult. We left there with a solid idea of what we wanted.
We then went off to the second cake appointment across town with Edible Art Bakery, a bakery that we had tasted at a bridal fair. This place does pound cake and I remember being real impressed with the sample at the fair. It was real ironic because the lady at the second bakery was nowhere near as warm or friendly as the first baker. I am not a business major and so what I know about running a business you can fit into a thimble, but I know that you should come out and introduce yourself. The lady at the second place did none of that. I guess that doesn't really matter because it is not a niceness competition. The question is who makes the best cake and the second place does by far. We are having a three-tiered pound cake and a small groom's cake. The top layer of the main cake is the only chocolate tier, but you don't serve the top tier. The tradition is that the couple freezes the top tier and eats it after their first year of marriage. Well, there will be a chocolate cake for me and my guests at my wedding and that is where the groom's cake comes in to play.
Once we had the cake all figured out Sarah and her mom went to a wedding dress shop that Sarah found online, A Bridal World. She went there because they carry the dress maker that made the dress that she liked in Stockton. Since it was dress related business I had to get the heck out of there. I had the car at least, but I was in Raleigh. It is a nice town, but it is pretty big and it is not like I knew the area. So what is a cheap, tightwad like me to do with 90 minutes on my own? I found a free activity that chewed up plenty of time: touring apartments. The girls who work these places have nothing better to do anyways. I emphasize girls because I challenge you to go look for apartments and tell me how many guys you see working behind the desks as customer service, not maintenance. It seems like it has to be the #1 employer for young women aged in their mid-20s. In my mind I can see these girls in the office of their high school guidance counselor. Their counselor says, "well, you are relatively good looking and have no real ambition, have you thought about working at an apartment complex?" Back to the point. Sarah called me and said I could come pick them up.
After I left them at the bridal shop one of Sarah's bridal party members came by and helped with the dress process. I am not sure who was more excited to see her either: Darlene or Sarah. The major accomplishment of the day was that Sarah found a dress and veil. She is beyond excited about it.
After the dress shop we stopped by a Whole Foods Market and asked their floral department if they did flowers for weddings and they do. This excited us to no end because actual floral shops charge an arm, a leg, and a kidney (just for good measure). Besides, we are getting married in a garden. It is not like we will need as many flowers your normal wedding would need. After a late lunch or early dinner at Jimmy John's (delicious, by the way) we headed home. Overall, a very productive day.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

I was not so great with posting during the 2nd quarter of the school year. However, I have stumbled across some free time and figured it would be a decent time to post. Also, I happen to be in a pretty good mood since the USC Trojans beat the Michigan Wolverines to win the Rose Bowl. The Rose Bowl was not for a national title or anything, but it sure is nice to win the last game of the season.
This post is coming from the family room of the new Barbee house in Richlands, NC. It is not totally finished yet, but it is the closest to being done that I have seen. This place will be so nice when it is finished. The new house is about 2,600 sq. ft. and is a major upgrade from the old house. When Sarah and I come home I have my own little loft area. Hopefully when we get married perhaps her parents will let me stay in Sarah's room.
The holiday season has been pretty cool thus far. I spent about a week out in Stockton for Christmas and Sarah went out with me. It was her first Christmas away from her family and I know that was a little rough on her. Everything worked out alright though especially since my family and friends I honestly believe like her more than they like me. We hung out with the normal crew of folks that I like to see when I go home. A professor of mine from UOP is the deacon at my church and when I went to Christmas mass I got to talk with him. He has recently retired and as do many folks who have recently retired he wore a huge grin when he spoke of his retirement. I am so jealous. Only about 35 more years, yes!
After the week in Stockton we flew back to Atlanta and then drove to Sarah's hometown. Along with the holidays this December was special because we celebrated her Grandma Barbee's 90th birthday. She had a huge bash at the fellowship hall at her church. There must have been about 150 people there when all was said and done. The coolest part about it is that I would not be surprised if there is a 100th birthday bash for her. She is still going strong. She keeps her house (the same one that she raised her four boys in), is active in church functions, and moves around real well. I hope Sarah got those genes.
Tomorrow we are heading up to Durham to do some wedding stuff. In particular, cake tasting! It should be pretty awesome. Sarah and I both have to be back at work on Friday. The fact that I had a decent break does make it easier to go back. Plus, I am teaching the same classes I taught last semester. It will be nice to be in a position of refining lesson plans each day for the second semester instead of creating new ones.